Doetinchem is a Municipality and a city in the province of Gelderland in the east of Holland. It has just under 60,000 inhabitants. It has grown a lot in recent years and looks likely to continue this pattern. Even though there is no heavy industry there, the economy is thriving and the city is continuing to do well.
History of Doetinchem
The area around Doetinchem has been inhabited for many thousands of years according to archeological finds. There was also more recent finds from the Romans through to the Saxons and the Vikings. But the first time that the name Doetinchem is used is in the 9th century when a small village, with a church is referred to. Towards the end of the 9th century there is another reference to the area, where the Bishop of Utrecht received a gift of a fortified building with a church.
Around the year 1100 the village, after suffering many raids, decided to build a town wall and around a century later, Doetinchem was given the right to become a city. They then raised the height of the wall even further to discourage raiders. During the years that followed the city improved it’s defences further by digging a moat around the city and building four new gates that could be secured against invaders.
In the early 16th century the city was largely burned down and then rebuilt. During the 80 years war from the mid 16 century to the mid 17th century the city was captured two times and in 1580 a plague swept through the city, killing many of the inhabitants. The city also flooded from time to time.
Despite these disasters the city again became prosperous and enjoyed centuries of quiet trading and through this became the most important market in the area. Even in the First World War the Dutch were neutral and so suffered none of the horrors of that time. But in WW2 members of the resistance were executed after a German officer was killed. In the months before the end of the war, the center of Doetinchem was bombed by the Allies, for reasons that were not entirely clear, and much of the city center was destroyed.
After the war had ended, the city grew and became larger, both in populous and in trade and the economy. In the post war years industry grew and made the city prosperous and the population of the city grew as well. Then after the turn of the century the city once again grew quickly and also absorbed more areas into it’s municipality and became the thriving city that it is today.
Getting To And Around Doetinchem
If you are flying into The Netherlands to go to Doetinchem, then it is best to fly into Amsterdam Schiphol. When you get to the airport, you can change to the train for the rest of your journey. There is a train station in the airport and it has a half hourly service that will get you to Arnhem in an hour and a quarter and there you can change to the train, direct to Doetinchem that will take about half an hour to arrive. There are trains to Amsterdam from most national and many international locations. If you are traveling by train then one from Amsterdam Centraal, that will take you, again via Arnhem to Doetinchem.
If you want to drive then you will be able to hire a car at the airport, or in Amsterdam very easily and there is a good motorway to Utrecht and then on to Arnhem and Doetinchem. There is a very good bus service in Doetinchem and this is one of the easiest ways to get around the city, To pay for your fare on the bus you will need to buy an ov-chipcaart from the station. If you like cycling then this is a very good way to get around. You can hire bicycles in the city very cheaply and there plenty of cycle routes and lanes to help you get around. If you would like to hire a taxi, then you can find one on taxi ranks at the station and other busy parts of town, or you can telephone for one on, Taxi Ready Doetinchem, +31 6 10205656, or, Taxi Aria Doetinchem, +31 6 81567578.
Tourism In Doetinchem
There are 3 windmills in Doetinchem. The windmill named De Waolmolen actually has the tourist office on it’s ground level. All of the windmills are open to look around, but usually just half a day every week, so it is best to check with the tourist office to find out when is the best time to go. The Stadsmuseum Doetinchem has some really interesting exhibits and is well worth a visit. There are some excellent models of the city in 1830 and 1940. There are also some multitouch tables that are interactive and show views of the city going back as far as 5,000 year’s ago. The museum has a good collection of postcards of the area and lots of photographs on display. There are also a lot of archaeological finds going back as far as 10,000BC.
Shopping And Eating In Doetinchem
There are a full range of shops in the town centre in Doetinchem, with everything from the larger retail stores that you can see in every town in The Netherlands to specialty shop’s and locally owned stores. There are some very good local boutiques and delicatessens. There is a great market every Tuesday near the town hall that has won the prize for the “Best Market in The Netherlands” in 2013.It has a large range of stalls, with everything from textiles to ecological goods. There is also a smaller market on Saturday’s at Tjalma street.
The Grand Cafe de Bank is a little brasserie style restaurant that has a nice comfortable setting and lots of good simple food. They serve a wide range of food’s from sandwiches to turkey steaks with cranberry sauce. They also have an outside terrace which is heated if the weather is cold. De Zaak is a contemporary restaurant serving modern stylish food with a twist, with a large range of choices on the menu, there will be something for most palates. The staff are helpful and very willing to talk you through the menu if you need help.
Doetinchem is a nice city for those who are seeking a quieter holiday. But with good food and interesting history and some great shopping it is a venue which has a lot going for it.